Career Readiness - NACE, Competencies, Connections, and more

What Is Career Readiness?

"Career readiness is a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management." National Association of Colleges & Employers, 2021.

Embedding Competencies Helps Ensure Students Develop Skills to Achieve Desired Career Outcomes (NACE April, 2023)

The 8 Career Competencies identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) are outlined below. These are the skills that current employers are actively seeking in our graduating students. One way to help our students recognize that they are learning these skills is to identify and place them in your course syllabi. Starting in Fall 2022, all Psychology course syllabi must feature at least 3-4 or more in each class you teach in a "Career Connections" section. Students can utilize the Career Connections in their interviews with potential employers to demonstrate they have these desired job skills. All Psychology courses already teach these competencies; however, we need to identify them and highlight them on the syllabus.

"The syllabus is a crucial document outlining course expectations, among other important information. Therefore if you want to integrate career readiness into your courses, your syllabus is the place to start" - Clemente I. Diaz, MA; APA Feb 2019.

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NACE Career Competencies "Career Connections"

Career & Self Development: Proactively develop oneself and one's career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one's strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one's organization.

Communication: Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.

Critical Thinking: Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Equity & Inclusion: Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.

Leadership: Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.

Professionalism: Knowing work environments differ greatly, understanding and demonstrating effective work habits, and acting in the larger community and workplace interest.

Teamwork: Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.

Technology: Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.


Below are examples of Career Connections outlined in the following courses by colleagues.


Career & Self Development: This course will explore different career pathways of Psychology graduates from our program. Additionally, students will learn about the research labs of current faculty members within our department (healthy mind, brain & lives assignment).

Communication: Students will develop their written communication skills by working on two separate projects that ask them to clearly articulate thoughts and ideas and communicate them in written form to people within academia (psych spotlight) and outside academia (healthy mind, brain, and lives project).

Equity & Inclusion: Students will consider how social and personal biases have influenced psychological research and identify the benefits of becoming a more diverse and inclusive field (DEI project).

Teamwork: Students will enhance their teamwork and collaboration skills by participating in a semester-long group project (psych spotlight project). This will require students to develop crucial skills related to a virtual team's formation, maintenance, and performance. In many respects, this is more challenging than in-person collaboration/teamwork.

Technology: Since this course is fully online, students will learn to navigate various online learning tools to complete assignments and collaborate with their peers. Students will actively work with the following technology: Adobe Rush, Google Drive, and PowerPoint (Psych Spotlight) – content creation and collaboration), Voicethread (Learning Project – collaboration), Adobe Spark (Healthy Mind, Brain & Lives – content creation), and D2L (collaboration).    

Critical Thinking: As an introductory course in a STEM field, within each topic and assignment, students are taught to think critically and skeptically about claims, evaluate data and evidence supporting those claims, and make informed judgments about the applications of those claims. Students are encouraged to ask questions, think critically, and entertain alternative explanations throughout each topic covered.

Communication: Students will develop their communication skills through writing academic papers taking a stance, and supporting their response with psychological science to solve a problem. Additionally, students will participate in a peer-review writing workshop and gain experience reading, critiquing, and discussing each others' written work.   

Teamwork: This course is hybrid in meets in a collaborative learning space on campus. Students will work in groups of 4-5 to discuss, brainstorm, debate, solve a problem, and complete each class assignment.

Technology: This course's structure is a hybrid model; therefore, students gain experience navigating the fully online portion of the course, which requires interacting with digital platforms, uploading files, submitting files electronically, participating in online discussion boards, etc.  

Critical Thinking: Students will provide critical thought by reviewing research and applying self-reflections and personal insights on topics related to relationships and older adults. Students will also review and apply critical thinking to peers via weekly discussions.  

Communication: Students will develop their communication skills through academic writings (APA formatting and citations), reflective and professional writing through journal activities and discussion threads with peers, and oral communications through interviewing older adults in the community. 

Equity & Inclusion: This course applies psychology's sociocultural perspective within the readings, assignments, and discussion posts – not limited to same-sex relationships, interracial relationships, or relationship research from various countries. Every journal assignment asks: "How does psychology's sociocultural perspective play a part in this activity?"

Professionalism: Students will schedule appointments with older adults and perform interviews, in which they will demonstrate professionalism through their questions and interactions with the older adult. Students will develop a work ethic as evidenced by being on time for the interview and submitting coursework before deadlines.  

Technology: Since this course is fully online, students will become familiar with online learning tools such as email, various components of D2L (exams, assignment submissions, and posting discussions), you-tube, Zoom, video recordings, PowerPoint presentation, and ways to obtain electronic resources and research.  

Career & Self Development: This course is designed primarily for students with the Bachelor of Science degree who are considering a career in psychological research. This course reinforces and expands upon the students' understanding of research methods and provides them with tangible skill sets useful in graduate school and beyond.

Communication: This course requires students to submit a manuscript in APA format. The primary emphasis will be on clear scientific writing, but students will also learn APA style (e.g., writing an abstract, proper in-text citations, accurate presentation of statistical results, etc.).

Critical Thinking: Students will learn to evaluate research design in psychology studies critically. Additionally, they will learn how to interpret the results of statistical analyses related to hypotheses.

Research Skill: At the start of the course, we review the basics of research methods and discuss how to assess research design critically.  Students then complete a brief project in which they work in groups to design a survey to test relational hypotheses and conduct those analyses on SPSS.  Finally, the major project involves designing and executing a psychological experiment.  This requires many research skills, including conducting a literature review, writing a proposal, collecting and analyzing data, and communicating results effectively.

Teamwork: Students will work in groups to design, conduct, analyze, and present a psychological experiment.  This will require them to communicate regularly, cooperate and compromise with each other, and execute shared plans.  One of the most challenging parts of this class for some students is learning to collaborate with others effectively.

Technology: As part of their research project, students will learn the basics of SPSS, including managing data within the program, reverse-scoring, creating composite variables, and conducting analyses (e.g., correlation, multiple regression, ANOVA, post hoc tests).  Students will also use PowerPoint to create a presentation to share with the class about their project.  Finally, students will optionally have the opportunity to learn how to design surveys online using Qualtrics.

Updated: 10/07/22